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Man sentenced for beating pony in supermarket car park

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Pebbles rescue pony

An incident filmed by a member of the public has helped build a case against a man who hit his young pony multiple times with a pole

A man from Morecambe has been banned from keeping animals for five years following prosecution by the RSPCA. John Reid has been sentenced after pleading guilty to two animal welfare offences. The first was for causing unnecessary suffering by repeatedly beating his pony, a yearling filly called Pebbles, and the second was for not meeting her basic needs.

Onlookers described John hitting Pebbles forcefully with his arm raised above his head and he appeared to strike her every few seconds for several minutes. A member of the public recorded the incident on her phone and the footage played in court, showing him hitting Pebbles hard at least 15 times with a blue plastic pole. Each blow to Pebbles is heard on the footage and John’s heard saying: “It’s gotta learn”.

RSPCA Inspector Will Lamping launched an investigation and found Pebbles, a yearling filly, underweight with prominent shoulders and backbone and her ribs visible. He described how the stable she was kept in was poor condition – the floor was covered in horse faeces and there was ivy – which is poisonous to horses- growing at the back. Inspector Lamping went on to highlight how Pebbles had no clean area or bedding to stand on or any feed available. She was also seen chewing the wood of her stable which horses often do when they are not receiving adequate nutrition. A vet attended and her report, which was submitted to the court, said: “The stable had no bedding in whatsoever. The floor was deep in wet and faeces with a number of plastic bags also being present mixed into the faeces. This environment was completely unsuitable for a horse due to its unsanitary conditions.”

Pebbles was soon taken into possession by police and placed into the care of the RSPCA.

In sentencing John Reid, magistrates commented the offences were serious. In addition to the five-year ban which he cannot apply to terminate for three years, he was sentenced to 10 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months.  He was also ordered to pay £200 costs and £128 victim surcharge.

After the sentencing hearing, Inspector Lamping said: “[John] Reid’s actions caused Pebbles, pain, fear and both physical and psychological suffering. She was very young and required teaching to educate her, rather than being reprimanded in such a way. By beating a pony in a way that causes fear and pain can ultimately affect how she learns and interacts with humans going forward.”

Ownership of Pebbles was transferred over to the RSPCA who will now be able to continue her rehabilitation and find her a loving new home.

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